Ontario's Oldest Continuously Operated Farm Co-operative Vineland Growers Co-Operative

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From coast to coast, Canada has a strong history when it comes to agricultural co-operatives. In fact, many of Canada�s co-operatives are legendary, such as the wheat pools of the middle 19th century, which took the power of purchasing and buying out from under the thumb of private companies and back into the hands of farmers themselves.

When it comes to Canadian farming co-operatives, none can boast quite the history that the Vineland Growers can. The co-operative has used their strategic location among the fertile soils and great climate of the Niagara Peninsula and become one of Canada�s oldest, and definitely Ontario�s longest running in terms of continuity, farm co-operative. Let�s take a closer look.

A brief history

Vineland Growers was conceived as an idea in 1913. Most likely a few farming families had tossed the idea of forming a farming collective around amongst themselves for a while, but the formalization of the idea came about in September of that year. At this time, four of the Peninsula�s most prominent fruit growers met to discuss formally creating a co-operative. The youngest of the four, Alonzo Culp, was to become the first president of the co-operative, with local teacher, Walter Gayman becoming the first managing director.

The co-operative itself was launched in the spring of 1914, with the backing of the men involved to the tune of $10,000 as their charter capital. The first business transaction for the co-operative occurred in the late spring of 1914, when five crates of strawberries were sent to two locations in Toronto from the farm of Melvin Honsberger for a total sale of $14.63 (which was enough to cover the organization�s original expenses, with 63 cents left over!).

Since then....

The co-operative didn�t take too long to maximize on their opportunities, and stocks in the company were paying dividends of seven percent per annum. In fact the interest from shares was attractive enough for many families to go beyond the spirit of the collective, and continue to collect dividends even after they had stopped growing fruit. This did not sit well with true members of the co-operative, however, and payment on stocks was therefore ended by 1930.

The Vineland Growers Co-operative has continued to thrive into the present day, with sales and patronage returns showing an increase almost every year since the beginning.

Gardening Articles: http://organicgardenarticles.com/

Author: Rob Parker
If you are looking for an online nursery supply store, chose one that is affiliated with a growers co-operative that has been in the Niagara area since 1913.

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